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A Century of Bull: 1896

1896 was the year that Buffalo took on Syracuse, Saint Bonaventure, Rochester and Hobart.

Billy Botts 1897 Photo, Bott was also a member of the 96 team
Billy Botts 1897 Photo, Bott was also a member of the 96 team

Date Score Source
Buffalo 62 Rochester U 6 Utica Observer 10/12/96
Buffalo 8 St. Bonaventure 4 Syr Evening Herald 11/2
11/4* UB 22 Saint Johns Military 6
Syr Evening Herald 11/4
11/7 Buffalo 6 Syracuse 6 Syr Evening Herald 11/8
UB 16 Rochester YMCA 0 Rochester D&C 10/8/96
Buffalo ? Lancaster ? N Tonawanda News 11/17
Buffalo 6 Hobart 6 Utica Weekly Herald 11/27

Starting in 1896 the Buffalo football team began to play a more robust selection of local colleges. There were still exhibition games the Bulls took on bigger name universities than they had during their first two seasons.

1896 was the first year UB played teams like Syracuse, Rochester, and Saint Bonaventure. They also picked up their series with Hobart College.

Buffalo played exhibition games against Lancaster, Satin John's Military Academy, and the Rochester YMCA.

News accounts have Buffalo playing a nearly perfect season. Against their intercollegiate opponents Buffalo went 2-0-2. Against clubs the team went 2-0.

The Saint Bonaventure hate is born!

After obliterating Rochester in their opening week Buffalo took on Saint Bonaventure. It was a heated contest that would see a fight erupt between the two squads. For years the Bonnie's had a reputation as one of New York's more aggressive teams and often ended up getting into fights with their opponents.

The game against UB was no different.Most accounts agree that UB had spent most of the game absorbing questionable hits from Saint Bonaventure until well into the second half. At that point, with Saint Bonaventure frustrated and Buffalo fed up a fight broke out.

Father Dolan of Saint Bonaventure tried to lay the blame at the feet of Irving Johnson and Referee Hinkey. Most news outlets say the row was precipitated mainly because UB players began to return the physical nature of Saint Bonaventure's play.

The First Syracuse Game:

The biggest hurdle on UB's schedule was a visit by Syracuse.

In front of a crowd of about two thousand people Buffalo and Syracuse exchanged blows. During the contest UB who was already down two starers, lost their captain, Irving Johnson, to injury.

Syracuse jumped out to a six nothing lead in the first half but the second half belonged to UB.

Syracuse kicked off and Laborn took the ball and ran twenty yards before be was downed by Syracuse's Smallwood. Then, after a three yard gain Graves made a kick which was fumbled by Syracuse when UB's Farr tackled him.

Afterward Laborn made a great run of twenty-five yards around the Syracuse right end to within one yard line. One minute later Krus carried It over for a touchdown and Graves kicked goal.

Late in the season Buffalo would take on Hobart in their first rematch since 1894, UB's first ever game against another college.

Buffalo and Hobart fought to a 6-6 tie.

When the season was over there were two undefeated teams in the Niagara region. Buffalo and the 25th Separate Company. The 25th challenged UB to a late season game but Buffalo declined because of Exams and thus the North Tonawanda Evening Standard declared the 25th as the champs of the area.

The Following players were listed as UB footballers during the 1896 Campaign.

Player Position
William J. "Billy" Bott
Brodie LT
Cowper QB
Crane RE
Donahue LG / RG
Graves FB
Irving Johnson LHB
Jones RT
Katamayer RT / LT
Kruse LG / RG
Labarn RHB
Langley LE
Pilkey LE
Woolston C